Saturday, July 30, 2016

Billings Farm & Museum Opens New Quilt Exhibit

Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock, Vermont, has opened its 30th Annual Quilt Exhibition of contemporary quilts by quilters of Windsor County, Vermont, and challenge quilts by the Delectable Mountain Quilters. The quilts will be on display until September 18, 2016.

There is a lot to like about this relatively small quilt show. Many woman-hours went into creating all of the quilts on display and what a variety of quilts there are! One can re-visit traditional patterns such as Sunbonnet Sue, Storm at Sea, and Spider Web, but all with a modern twist! The signage with each quilt is outstanding, telling the history of the pattern or the reason why the quilt came to be, reminding me of the late Helen Kelly's comment that "Every quilt has a story!"

"Storm at Sea," a traditional quilt pattern with a twist. Made by Charlotte Croft

Many of the quilts were made to give to a friend, donate as a charity fundraiser, or to give to a family member. In the case of "Storm at Sea," Charlotte Croft added two heart-shaped leis to a traditional pattern. She plans to give the quilt as a wedding present to a grandson who was born in Hawaii two weeks before Hurricane Iniki hit. The quilt honors his place of birth.

We loved a wolf-themed large bed quilt made for friends. We really liked a quilt that is a tribute to the medical profession which has fabric that features "tools of the trade." From a 9,009 piece Bargello quilt in bright colors, to a small wall quilt with depictions of birds, to a salute to the Civil War via a quilt that combines two patterns of antique Sanitary Commission quilts, the show has something for everyone. This year the challenge quilt section was devoted to quilts with at least two stars.

For the price of admission to the museum, one can see much more than quilts. Learn more about Billings Farm & Museum by visiting their Facebook page and/or going to their website. We have enjoyed being invited to preview their quilt show for many years now, ever since I wrote an article for The Quilter magazine about the place (which may still be featured on their website),  and also gave a special presentation there about Redwork embroidery one year. Woodstock, Vermont is a great destination and Billings Farm & Museum is its crown jewel!

Patricia L. Cummings

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Poore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum

This evening I was delighted to see a segment on NH Chronicle (local TV programming) about the Poore Farm Museum in Stewartstown, New Hampshire which is near the Canadian border. In December 2013/January 2014, an article I wrote about the place appeared on the pages of The Quilter magazine. One can read that article, in its entirety, by visiting and scrolling down to "News" and clicking on that link.

The article centers on the history of the farm that held by the same family for more than 150 years. Of course, the article features the textiles and quilts we saw in the house.

I shall reprint one paragraph to give you a glimpse of the article:

     Upon entering the house, one feels as though the inhabitant has just stepped out and will return shortly. Kenneth slept in the same bed in which he was born. He managed to live for almost a century with no electricity, no central heating, and no running water. Dairy products and meat were kept cold by immersion in cold mountain water, carried to the house into a spring box by wooden pipes made from hollowed-out logs joined with pitch. The water was diverted into a cast-iron bin that sits in a small room right near the kitchen.

As usual with treks to museums, we learned a lot during our visit. Be sure to visit the Poore Farm Museum's site to learn more about this fascinating place! Better yet, go in person if you are in the area!

Patricia Cummings

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Birthday Quilt

A most extraordinary quilt was sent to me for my birthday this year. A dear friend mailed me an appliquéd quilt that was designed by Becky Goldsmith of Piece o' Cake Designs. Becky calls the botanically-themed quilt "Simply Delicious." It is based on her Block of the Month offer which is still available on her website. The quilt was won at an auction to benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital about 12 years ago. The quilter is "Anonymous."

Gift quilt - how sweet it is!

I shall soon be making a label for the back of the quilt to document its size and other details as I know them to be. The quilt arrived with the number 2386 written on an attached tag. Of 20,000 quilts donated to the hospital, only 20 of them were selected for auction that year (2004) and this is one of them. The quilt could be a large wall quilt, if one had the space, or would fit a twin size bed. The designer noted that the quilter made some modifications in the size of the sashings and outer border to increase the overall size of the quilt.

It is not every day that one receives such a beautiful gift of friendship! The appliqué work is exquisite and precise. I also love the quilter's choice of fabrics. The pieced backgrounds and sashings do not overwhelm the blocks as the colors used are subtle. Everything seems perfect, even the machine-quilting! I feel very lucky, indeed, to have been given such an unexpected treasure. The only thing that would increase my joy would be to find out who made this quilt. I love to give credit where it is due! In the meantime, I shall continue to admire the fine workmanship. The quilt lives up to its name. It is "Simply Delicious"!